City recycling campaign too trashy, says women’s group

A calendar of half-naked young people designed to encourage waste separation in Horsens is raising a stink

In an effort to encourage youngsters attending vocational schools to separate waste and put it in the proper bin, the Jutland city of Horsens is distributing a calendar filled with scantily clad men and women showing how the trash should be separated.

The unusual waste manual has raised the ire of the Danish women’s group, Dansk Kvindesamfund.

"It is beneath contempt that a government agency objectifies women,” Lisa Holmfjord, the head of Dansk Kvindesamfund, told Politiken newspaper. “People believe if they just show a woman in a bikini, they can sell a product. It makes young people seem more stupid than they are, and it's sad.”

The waste and recycling division of Horsens Council created the calendar, which it says is intended to catch the attention of young people so that they will actually look at the information and not just, well, toss it in the bin.

"I do not think we turn the models into sex objects,” Anne Dorthe Christensen, a division spokesperson, told Politiken. “The photos are very respectable and it isn’t about sex, it is about attracting attention.”

Naked boobs = better recycling
Christensen responded to the charges that the calendar features many more scantily-clad female boobs than it does male six-packs by pointing out that there are more men attending the vocational schools where the calendar is to be distributed than there are women.

Christensen said that she understands why some people might take offence, but that she feels the photos are in good taste and much milder than they could have been.

MEP Britta Thomsen (Socialdemokraterne) disagrees.

“What male chauvinist crap,” she posted on her Facebook page.

Holmfjord said the calendar simply sends the wrong message to young girls, even if there are photos of men included.

“It is foolish to say that everyone should be happy because they have included pictures of both young men and women,” she said. “[The council] acts like young people are only driven by their libidos. There simply must be a better way to get the message across.”

Holmefjord said that a government agency had a responsibility to respect gender equality across the board.

“It is stupid to believe that simply because you show them a picture of big breasts or a six-pack that young people will be better at recycling,” she told Politiken.